Four Poems from SALIENT

liztgrayPoems, YpresLeave a Comment

WWI Barbed Wire Trenches

WWI Barbed Wire Trenches

 

 

 

 

Since 2013 I have been working on SALIENT (forthcoming 2020), a long poem geographically centered in Belgian Flanders in late 1917, where the British Army fought the battle of Third Ypres, known as “Passchendaele.” Almost 90,000 British soldiers who fought in the Ypres Salient have no known grave. In April of 2018 the gorgeous online journal CAGIBI published four of the poems. Here’s the first one (below). The others can be found here:

 

The Missing of the Great War

Belgian Flanders, 2017

 

It was a test. She asked, Are they here or not?

Because the land is flat it is hard to see.

 

The men may be hidden in that empty space.

The canal was a serious obstacle.

 

The banks of the dykes are bordered with willows.

The lyric moment at its best.

 

At the edge of each moment I thought I saw movement.

It was a test. She asked, Are they here or not?

 

The lines kept changing but not by much.

Because the land was flat it was hard to see.

 

The men may be hidden in that empty space.

The banks of the dykes are bordered with willows.

 

You can read this, she said.

The lines ran right through this corn field.

 

Corroded buttons, cap badges, numbered disks.

At the edge of each moment I thought I saw movement.

 

When the sun came out I was surprised.

I asked, Should I just go home?

 

The canal was a serious obstacle.

The lyric moment at its best.

 

The lines kept changing, but not by much.

It was a test. She asked, Are they here or not?

 

Gently, metal on metal. Something on its own terms.

The lyric moment at its best.

 

The lines ran right through this corn field.

The banks of the dykes are bordered with willows.

 

The canal was a serious obstacle.

You can read this, she said.

 

 

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